Building group trust: the reliable facilitator

Andrea Howe
Category : Client relationships, Trusted advisorship December 21, 2007

Client meetings are a great opportunity to build trust with many clients at once. Today’s blog is the second in a four-pack series that focuses on how to build trust with your clients when you morph from Consultant to Facilitator (click here to read the first article in the series, Building Group Trust: The Credible Facilitator). We’re using the components of the Trust Equation as our framework.

trust diagram
First up was Credibility. Today’s topic: Reliability.

Reliability exists in the domain of actions. Reliability occurs when you prove yourself to be dependable and predictable over time.

Here are 10 tips for establishing yourself as a Reliable Facilitator:

1. Whenever possible, interact with the group prior to convening to introduce yourself and begin to demonstrate how you work.

2. Be sensitive to your clients’ cultural norms when designing sessions.

3. Stick to the agenda you’ve created unless you clearly re-contract with the group or group leader to make changes.

4. Create materials (easel charts, handouts, session notes) with a consistent look and feel.

5. Dress appropriately; don’t dress way “over” or “under” your clients.

6. Use the group’s terminology.

7. Check against objectives/expectations at key junctures and ending points.

8. Always return to “Parking Lots” and other similar group records to bring closure to outstanding ideas and actions.

9. Absolutely, positively end your session when promised (unless you have agreed otherwise in advance).

10. Deliver follow-up materials on time.

Clients who experience you as reliable can be heard saying, “I trust her to _______.” As a result, they’ll trust your leadership of the group.

Credibility and reliability are necessary and not sufficient for building trust. Next up: The Connected Facilitator.

Originally published by BossaNova Consulting Group, Inc.
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Andrea Howe

Andrea Howe

As the founder of The Get Real Project, I am the steward of our vision and our service offerings, as well as a workshop leader and keynote speaker. Above all else, I am an entrepreneur on a mission: to kick conventional business wisdom to the curb and transform how people work together as a result. I am also the co-author, with Charles H. Green, of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook (Wiley, 2012).

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